Under blistering Bank Holiday sun, the Motorsport UK Junior Rallycross Championship opened the race proceedings at Lydden Hill Race Circuit in Kent on Monday. It was Tom Ovenden who took the first chequered flag of the day, in front of his home crowd, holding off a charging Roberts Vitols, Alfie Porter and Archie Thomas in a closely fought affair, with all four drivers in with a chance of victory until the chequered flag fell.
Sayer (L) and O'Donovan (R) head the field
The second race in Q1 was even closer, with Ben Sayer and Patrick O’Donovan near inseparable for the opening lap until O’Donovan peeled off in the second lap to joker. With a perfectly executed race strategy, Ben Sayer took the win to slide into top spot with Ovenden second and Vitols third in Q1.
Q2 saw newcomer Harry Garman take his first heat win despite contact with a circuit marker on the opening lap, whilst Sayer crossed the line first in the second race once again clocking the fastest time ahead of O'Donovan, with Garman's win placing him in the top three for Q2.
Ovenden leads, Garman's debut (L) with Constantine (R)
Ovenden was the star of the first race of Q3, taking a first lap joker stratagy, he continued to put in successive flawless laps to leapfrog the rest of the pack once all jokers had been served.
Sayer dominated once more in race two, taking the lead early and continuing to increase the gap until the chequered flag fell to make it a hat trick of wins. The rest of the pack couldn’t be separated, with O’Donovan, Vitols, Alfie Porter and Garman all covered by 1.3 seconds. O'Donovan scored second quickest overall with Ovenden third in Q3 when amalgamated.
Close racing from the Junior Swifts
As with most Junior Swift outings, little is predictable and this proved to be the case again this weekend. Patrick O’Donovan and Ben Sayer were battling for 1st place for the opening two laps of the six lap final, until Sayer took the Joker on lap three. This enabled O’Donovan to concentrate on circulating with no distractions until he served his joker on the final lap to emerge behind Sayer. O'Donovan saw his chance at Devils elbow and with a charging lunge down the inside managed to take the lead which he held to the line to take his first victory ahead of Sayer and the increasingly impressive Tom Ovenden.
Luke Constantine who had been feeling unwell throughout the day was happy to cross the line fourth, whilst fifth place went to Harry Garman on what was a very strong debut. Archie Thomas came in sixth with Vitols in seventh after an incident in lap five, and Alfie Porter rounded out the top eight after suffering gearbox issue, however, with such close racing from the whole field, the results remain provisional at this time.
O'Donovan's win promotes him to top of the Championship table, one point ahead of Constantine, with Vitols completing the top three in the Championship
With four rounds remaining and three different winners so far, there is all to play for in the Motorsport UK Junior Rallycross Championship.
The TOYO TIRES British Rallycross Championship heads to the 'Home of Welsh Motorsport!' next - Pembrey Circuit 21st - 22nd September 2019.